WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Violators of Palm Beach County's emergency order closing all beaches for the Fourth of July weekend could be subject to a $100 penalty.
Under the emergency order issued Monday, all public, municipal and private beaches will be closed from 12:01 a.m. Friday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
County Administrator Verdenia Baker, citing an increase of coronavirus cases in Palm Beach County and statewide, as well as the recent beach closures of neighboring Broward and Miami-Dade counties, "finds it necessary to close all public, municipal and private beaches and beach parks in Palm Beach County for the Fourth of July holiday weekend."
The order applies to all incorporated and unincorporated beaches in Palm Beach County.
It also gives law enforcement the authority to issue civil citations for repeat offenders who violate the order. Those fines include a $25 citation for the first violation, $50 citation for the second violation and $100 for each additional violation.
"Compliance and enforcement processes shall include the provision of a written or verbal warning and opportunity to correct before citations resulting in fines are issued," according to the order.
The order also states that businesses violating the order could receive stiffer penalties of up to $500, although it does allow restaurants and stores within beach parks to remain open.
Reaction has been mixed among residents, some of whom support the decision, with others criticizing the move and suggesting that the beaches should remain open to those who live in the county.
Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said Monday that the order is in place for the public health and safety of residents.
"I don't mean to demean or make light of the fact that our beaches won't be accessible during the Fourth of July weekend, a day that we celebrate our country and our patriotism, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices," he said.